Robert’s Roundup #42 (Sept 2023)

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MAILING LIST: I just started a mailing list for my publishing company. Will mail out every 2 months and will include excerpts from my Robert’s Roundup columns and other random stuff. MASTADON:

Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited,  and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.

I’ve been falling behind on this column. I barely got started on #41 and skipped August. But in fact I have been very busy on the literary front and have a backlog of ebooks to blog about. First, I wish to announce that a new story collection by Jack Matthews Boxes of Time will be ready by January 2024. This is his 11th story collection and consists of stories published between 1965 and 1980; they feature characters who are troubled or unsure of themselves trying to deal with life’s usual disappointments. Stylistically these stories are polished and carefully written, but they deal with messy emotions, troubled families and damaged personalities. The characters may not be as educated or self-assured as the people in Second Death of E.A. Poe (2021) or Crazy Women (1985), but they still manage to figure out interesting things about themselves and the people around them. Stories from this period focus especially on the emotional stresses that separate parents from their children. Matthews picked “Boxes of Time” as the title for this collection because each story reveals the drama of worlds long since gone but whose dreams and fears and anxieties still resonate today.

Indie Author Spotlight


Under the Radar


The Questions That Matter Most: Reading, Writing, and the Exercise of Freedom by Jane Smiley. Literary and personal essays about books.

The Pisces: A Novel by Melissa Broder.

Library Purchases/Printed books


Creative Commons/Freebies


Literary Articles and Essays




Capsule Book Reviews

The Hook by Jake Seliger is an exploration of the love life and career of high school English teacher Scott Sole. Told in a series of short chapters which change from character to character — including a girlfriend who was a former student. Scott takes his job very seriously and is passionate about teaching, yet his private life becomes a topic of interest, especially because of his free-spirited ruminations on his blog and he becomes caught in a false accusation by a student. Reminiscient of Tom Perotta’s Election (both in terms of narrative structure and subject matter), this novel is both realistically told and probably an accurate representation of the unrealistic demands made upon teachers. Under this hypercritical (and hypocritical) eye, it’s hard for single adults (and particularly men) to survive. The novel is a scathing indictment of public morality, but also an interesting look at single life from the man’s perspective.

Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from SmashwordsThe prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).






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